MTV: Lebanon’s Prime Censoring TV Station – Why They Fired Joe Maalouf

Enta Horr Joe Maalouf MTV

Update: the plot thickens. It might be ALL electoral according to this (link).

News that MTV canceled Enta Horr spread like wildfire over the weekend (link). Speculations about the reason why MTV would resort to such drastic measures regarding one of their most debated TV shows were quick to start. The common denominator turned out to be just one: the never-ending story of the closing of the Dekwane gay club. (link).

Joe Maalouf, in his last episode of Enta Horr, came in against what the mayor of Dekwane did at that night club. Of course, this comes in stark disassociation with the Maalouf who, through his show, caused a Lebanon-gay-scandal of his own a while back with a cinema raid which even led him to sue Gino Raidy, a well-known Lebanese blogger, for the latter’s scathing post against Maalouf. Criticism doesn’t go around well in this country. But who remembers?

A few days after the news of Enta Horr’s cancellation surfaced, Maalouf decided to speak on the matter. And it turned out to be caused by exactly what we thought had happened: MTV’s Gabriel el Murr was displeased with Joe Maalouf’s stance in Enta Horr’s last episode which happened to be against the mayor Dekwane mainly. As a result, he sent out a demeaning letter to Maalouf in which he forbade him from working at the TV station. He then sent security personnel to fire the crew of Enta Horr and forbid them from entering the TV station’s premises again. All of this because Joe Maalouf stood against Dekawne’s mayor Mr. Shakhtoura and his practices. (Source)

I was told the mayor belongs to the Murr’s political line, which makes this even worse: silencing a man because it infringed upon one of the Murr lackeys. So it could be that they were upset Maalouf tarnished his image. He probably didn’t need much help in that. Or it could be that they needed his help in Lebanon’s upcoming elections and didn’t want Maalouf alienating him from them.

At a time when TV networks like LBC label the anal tests as tests of shame in the republic of shame, you have a network like MTV, which flaunts itself to be Lebanon’s most liberal and most sophisticated, banning and stopping TV shows because of a simple opinion that doesn’t even reflect on the TV station negatively. A TV station of shame, indeed.

It doesn’t matter where you stand regarding the rights of homosexual people in Lebanon. It doesn’t even matter where you stand regarding Joe Maalouf and Enta Horr, both of which I’m not a fan. What matters here is that Joe Maalouf’s freedom of speech – his freedom to have an opinion that is entirely his – has been maimed and tarnished by a TV station that had its own voice squashed by Lebanon’s de-facto Syrian presence for years and years.

For a person like Gabriel el Murr who knows how it is to go through years of tarnishing the voices of people, how is him silencing Joe Maalouf on TV any different from those same de-facto officers silencing all the votes that elected him to office? And since when is the mayor of a town so important as to have an entire TV show shut down just because it dared criticize his practices?

As I said before (link), Lebanon is a no-criticism zone. Don’t you dare criticize. There will be consequences.

It’s a sad day when the media of a country, supposedly there to lessen hate and ignorance, continue not only in perpetuating that hate and ignorance but in increasing it. What’s next from MTV or any other narrow-minded TV station in this country? Canceling TV shows just because… No reasons requested whatsoever? Banning journalists because they are not fans of your TV station’s policies? Forbidding reporters from getting airtime because their reporting isn’t always in sync with what you want to get across?

How does this make Lebanon’s journalism and press and media any different from those in countries that we look down on? The mere fact that I get to write this article and cross my fingers that someone out there won’t sue me doesn’t cut it anymore.

I may not like Joe Maalouf. I may not watch his show. But I sure as hell cannot be happy his show got canceled because it made the Murr clan unhappy. Good job MTV. Perhaps they should relabel themselves. That tape they had unzipped from over their mouth back when they relaunched after years of forced closure needs to be glued back. It’s only fitting of their practices and stature.

This is a general state of disgust.


15 thoughts on “MTV: Lebanon’s Prime Censoring TV Station – Why They Fired Joe Maalouf

  1. Hah knew it. There I was thinking maybe MTV fired him because he was offensive to homosexuals(didn’t watch the episode)…turns out it’s the opposite.


  2. I second that. Truly disgusting coming from that same MTV. As I said yesterday, Lebanon is one of the few countries where TV shows don’t get cancelled due to low ratings. Hope it won’t open a precedent and lead to shows getting cancelled “3al tali3 wel nezil”


  3. Pingback: Murr vs. Maalouf - Blog Baladi

  4. LBC deserves some respect for their progressive stance on the issue. They are the most viewed channel in Lebanon, yet they have the balls to speak against homophobia.


  5. Pingback: MTV’s Side of the Firing of Joe Maalouf | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  6. Shame on MTV. Everybody has the right to speak his/her opinion. What I like about Joe is that he speaks and fights against corruption; he doesn’t take sides in politics. I also think that the homosexual community should team up, hire a lawyer, and sue the mayor of Dekwaneh. What he did or ordered was inhuman and should be held accountable.


  7. I never watched this show before but I watched this episode because of the media attention it acquired. I am impressed with Joe Maaloof , he is a hell of a talk show host and I honestly think, it is MTV’s loss to fire him. I have no doubt in my mind that Joe will be getting so many better lucrative contracts from other TV networks. Good Luck Joe and keep up the good work.


  8. Regardless of the reason why joe maalouf was fired being electoral reasons or because the mayor is an ally to el murr … now am talking as a citizen .just to b clear am not homophobic or anythg else ..but u just cant go on tv and defend gay bars .if he s gay himself I dnt rly care this is his personal life and it should stay this way and nobody is judging ! I dont deny el murr did a mistake firing him and banning his tv program ,but some opinion are better left unsaid ,when u host a tv show u should be objective and dont let your personal feelings and emotions control you .
    Of course we have freedom of speech but if you r gonna take it to the extreme like joe maalouf did …this is a problem ! He has the right to talk about it freely yes and say what happened and how they closed the gay bar …yes ! But he represents the MTV as a tv station ,he doesnt only represent himself as Joe Maalouf .And therefore his opinion must be kept unsaid .


  9. And btw o forgot to mention what ha hypocrite is joe maalouf … we all remember when he revieled the names of the girls being sexually abused in Aintoura against their parents will .who wants to be reminded for the rest of his life by such an incident … making people gossiping thats what he did by revealing the names . I think MTV had to deal with a lot becausr of JOe Maalouf and I take back ehat I said about firing him was a mistake … I think they just had to fire him right from the start …after all he s just a JARRAS graduate



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